Category Archives: The old house

Stuff about my old house

Hai there!

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Poor lil neglected blog! It’s been positively ages, my apologies, hope you didn’t miss me too much. Things have been super hectic in the last month. Spent a week packing and shifting my stuff into storage and am now ensconced back at my Mum’s house. While I was moving I had some odd moments of looking at all my things after playing a massive game of tetris with them in my storage unit and just feeling really strange that my “life” fits in a 3m x 3m box. As I was talking about in the previous post, the things that define who I am and what I’m about. Pare that all away and it’s just me 🙂

It’s always weird being back with the parental unit but it’s different this time and in all reality I have it pretty good so I have no complaints. Probably the only one is that I miss being alone 🙂  So the house is sold, the money’s in my bank and the new house owners have moved in. Hope they’re enjoying it and are immune to incessant irritating dog barking. I’m enjoying the peace and quiet at my Mum’s. Only thing bugging me there is the carport gate banging in the wind but that’s nothing that a lil foam tape won’t fix!

Other than that just been busy with work work work. And now on to the housey stuff! A friend sent me a link to a straw bale house builder that I hadn’t come across yet:

http://www.vivahomes.com.au/Strawbale-Homes-Design-And-Build.aspx

I really like their philosophy and will probably give them a call to see what we can do. Reading their website has made me start seriously thinking about what I want my house to look like and get down to some of the nitty gritty details.

ooooh which reminds me, did I mention that I’ve found my dream bit of land? 40 mins away from work, mostly bush with a little bit of cleared land and with a giant stretch of river. BUT there are two problems…. 1) they want more than what I want to pay for land (although there are existing unapproved “house” structures on it that I could live in which are actually glorified sheds) 2) they may not accept my offer as it’s on the low end of their price range and c) I may not be able to build my house on it. I went to have a look at it last week and it’s glorious. Very hard not to fall in love with it. I’m going to have to talk to the council to see whether it’s eligible for building approval because the way the agent was talking made it sound like it would be tricky. Not sure why as there are other houses in the valley. The sheds are livable as the current owners have been living in them for the last 9 years but that’s not my “forever home” ideal. So if I can’t build there’s that property out the window 😦 And if I can then that means that I’m going to have to wait a few years before I can afford to build as it’s over my land budget and eats into my house building budget. So… we’ll see….

Time flies…

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So I’m about 3/4 packed up… 6 days to go til I have to be out.  Just the big furniture things which the movers are taking to storage on Thursday. I’ve been taking boxes of stuff over there already and there’s 43 boxes of stuff lined up against one wall like a giant Tetris puzzle. Funny how when you look at a wall of a boxes and think that it contains your “life”. In a way it’s just stuff. Things that when I look at they make me happy. As I’ve been packing my stuff it’s given me a lot of time to think about the  things I’m packing and why I’m keeping them.  I do have a hoarding trait but it’s because of my upbringing. Since I was born, this is my 18th move (I think, and not that I remember all of them of course). But I’ve become a pro at moving in a way. And it’s partly the  reason that I want my land and to build my house. To plant MY roots. I’ve never felt like I belong anywhere, that anywhere felt like HOME.

When someone asks you “where are you from” how do you answer? The place you’re born? the place you grew up? Your hometown? For me it’s not an easy question to answer. I was born in a foreign land that my parents lived in for a few years, growing up I never lived anywhere for more than 3 or 4 years until I came to Australia when I was 13. And my hometown is the place I live right now by default because it’s the place I’ve lived the longest. I don’t have any affinity to this place other than that. So I guess my quest for land and to build a house on it is in a way my quest to stake a claim in this world and make it mine.  And hopefully something that my children will think of as theirs. The future is uncertain but it’s something I hope they will feel.

When I look at the things I’m packing, a lot of them have memories attached and I think that’s why I hold on to them. Because growing up and moving so much I was never allowed to keep things. I feel silly for holding on to two boxes of Barbie stuff but the feelings that are attached with that stuff are so intense that I don’t want to let go of them yet. It’s memories of my childhood and the place I was when I used to play with them every day for hours on end and make clothes and furniture for them.  There’s like a golden movie haze that I associate with that time. My Dad built me this giant Barbie house and I was SO thrilled to have it. I remember sneaking down to the basement to watch him build it and wish he’d hurry up so that I could put all my Barbie furniture in it and start playing with it. Like a lot of my childhood toys I don’t remember what happened to it but I can see it so clearly and still treasure it whenever I look at my Barbie stuff.

I guess packing up your stuff stirs things up. Makes you evaluate your life and your “things”.  Makes you remember the memories attached to certain items. Funny but I miss my stuff already even though I know it’s all in boxes in a storage warehouse. But the things I own make me happy and dare I say it, define me. They make up my past and present. So with them all locked up in boxes in a warehouse it’s freeing and saddening at the same time.  Because it is just stuff and life is made up of more than that.

Anyway I’m insanely tired and as you can read, probably over emotional.  Just another step in the journey. More ranting and housey stuff another time.

Have a great day 🙂

EEEEEEEEEEEEKKK!!!!!

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3 weeks TODAY til I have to be out of my house! How on earth did that happen so quickly? Who’s been fast forwarding time eh? Fess up!  I’m a little bit at panic stations now… I’ve been slowly getting stuff sorted but I think I need to kick it into high gear now or else I’m not going to make it in time!

I’m starting to come up with the vision for my new place. I’ve got an idea that’s rumbling around in the back of my mind, marinating in creative juices. I’m not totaly sure that I want to voice it yet purely because it’s not very clear to me yet, I’m not just trying to be coy. But rest assured that I’ll spill the beans once I’ve totally worked it out (and also whether it’s actually a viable idea and not just a romantic notion).

And now I need to get down to the nitty gritty details on what I want my new house to look like because my feeling that the right bit of land will come up when I’m actually financially ready to buy it could mean that I’ll find something in 3 weeks! Yes, yes I’m an optimist 🙂 Dreaming of all the tiles and taps and carpet and curtains. I’ve got a vague floorplan worked out but I need to talk to some professionals to firm up my ideas. But all the other details need to be attended to as well. Truely exciting (and keeping my mind off packing!). Feel a bit like Alice’s white rabbit!

SOLD!!!

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The house is sold!! 9 days after listing and I’ve received an offer of my magic number! I’m in a bit of shock to be quite honest as I didn’t quite expect it to be so quick but I’m happy. Gotta keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real.

And now the real hard work starts – packing! I spoke to the storage company that I’ve used before to see if they have any units available and not only do they have some available but they’ll give me a $35 per month discount so I’m pretty chuffed with that! I think I should buy a lottery ticket ot something the way I’m going today. I spose it is full moon today and I really thought it was going to be a bad one as its been pretty intense so far. But nope, it’s turned out pretty darn well! Hope your day has been as great!

I got an offer!

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Got my first offer on the house yesterday! But… too low 🙂 I’m pretty impressed considering it was exactly one week from being listed so I’m pretty confident that I’ll get my magic number. And hell if the place hasn’t sold in 2 months I’m happy to revisit if the offer is still there. But was just a lil chuffed that I actually got an offer in the first week. The last property I sold took 3 months to get an offer but circumstances are different this time and I think that the “I can’t wait to sell this place” energy helps. While I was painting last week I nearly went insane with the neighbours dog barking ALL DAY. And I don’t just mean on and off but ALL DAMN DAY!  By 3pm I had to put my headphones in because I was gonna go positively bonkers.

Just reinforces why I’m doing this really. Was doing some more lunchtime reading on straw bale houses because I was thinking of doing a building workshop and came across these people who suggest hosting a workshop on your property to help build your place:    http://glassford.com.au/main/click-for-workshop-menu/custom-workshops-examples/  what a great idea! That would certainly help with the labour costs. And part of their conditions for hosting is that you do one of their workshops so that works out well for me! I’m gonna have to start dreaming up a floorplan and all that fun stuff soon.

Anyway back to the ole grind…

 

 

Long time no speaky!!

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EEEEEKKKK!! Just realised it’s been ages since we’ve last spoken. SO much happening at the moment so I’m sorry for the lack of updates! I’ve been madly fixing up my house, finishing all the last minute things that I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t quite gotten around to doing since I moved in last October. I spent the last week touching up the paint in the patio out the back, finished planting new plants in the front and hortichipping it all so it looks really nice and tidy now. Had to paint the entrance hallway and front railing too so it’s looking pretty good now. I had to declutter in the extreme for the photographers who came a week ago and even then they took stuff out so it was pretty bare. Not that I have a lot of clutter but they want it bare bones for some reason. In some cases I think it looks too bare but oh well as long as it sells!

AND dun dun dunnnnnnnnn it was listed last Monday! The photos make my place look AMAZING!! And on the first day there was already enquiries for the contract for sale which my agent sent out and there were 600+ views since it was listed at lunchtime. Today, a week later, its 2344 🙂   Had a really successful open house on the weekend with 30 groups coming out and 5 more contracts sent out so it’s certainly getting a lot of interest. And scarily enough I’ve just had a call from my agent who wanted to show someone around this afternoon who didn’t get to see it on the weekend and clearly can’t wait for next weekend’s open house!  Speak o the devil and he calls you up haha. With all the interest I’ll hopefully have an offer of my magic number soon! Keep your fingers x-ed for me.

Clearly I didn’t get around to making the lemon marmalade as I’d planned to either but might give it a crack this weekend after the open house. There’s also a high protien gluten free bread recipe that I want to try out.  http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-bread/  Looks really yummy and appeals to my tastebuds with the almond and coconut. /me drools… can you imagine the fresh bread straight out of the oven with a slathering of lemon marmalade?? mmmmmmmmmm. There’s also another property that I really like that I might go and have a squiz at on the weekend. It ticks all the boxes but looks like it’s about 10 minutes out side the buffer zone so…. might not be THE one.

Also found my dream property BUT it’s 30 mins outside the zone. http://www.domain.com.au/Property/For-Sale/House/NSW/Araluen/?adid=2010623289   Simply gorgeous.

Anyway just wanted to give you a quick update… all VERY exciting!

 

Getting there… slowly…

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Well I started writing a ranting and raving post but didn’t post it and I’ve calmed down now and rewritten it so it’s a lil less venty. Basically I got my house building inspection report back which is a mandatory report required for selling your house here. My house got a pretty good EER rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 so I’m quite happy with that (EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio). What I did discover is that my bbq/patio area is not “development approved” and is also on the electricity and drainage easement which means that even if I did seek approval that it probably wouldn’t be approved because of the easement. Basically the water company could come in at any time and rip it all up if they needed to get access to the drainage.

Had a chat to my wonderful lawyer cuz I was freaking out thinking I’m going to have to tear the whole thing down and put something else in it’s place and she said that if it’s stated in the contract that it’s not DA approved then the seller cannot get me to seek approval or seek compensation for it so that’s a massive relief. So if the buyer wants the house they’ll just have to wear the fact that there is a potential risk that the water company could come in if they needed to.

The house is basically in good nick but I’ll have to get the sagging fence repaired (which I kinda figured anyway). The photographer is booked in for next week so I’ll  be packing and decluttering to stage the house properly this weekend. I had a bit of a karma moment last week in that I Freecycled the agapanthus plants from the front of my house with the catch that the person had to come and dig them out themselves. I was teeheeing to myself that I was getting someone else to do my dirty digging work AND carting all the unwanted plants away (they were a bit straggly and not happy in that position so didn’t look very good). Unfortunately I wasn’t very specific and she took some of the plants from my front garden as well and left me with an ugly bare patch. So I had to put chips over it and I’ll probably put in a few flowers or something to make it look less ugly. I’ve planted some dwarf nandina in their place and it’s looking really pretty because of the winter color.

This is the other thing that I’m doing this weekend as there was a glut of lemons from the guys at work:

from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1898654/lemon-marmalade

Lemon marmalade
marmalade
Cooking time
Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus cooling

Makes 6 x 450ml jars

Ingredients

1kg unwaxed lemons
2kg granulated sugar

Tip

To sterilise your jars, wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray in a low oven to dry completely. Keep them warm until you fill them.

Method

1. Chill a saucer in the freezer, ready for checking the setting point of your jam. Wash the lemons and remove the top ‘button’ which would have been attached to the stalk. Put the lemons in a large saucepan with 2.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 2½ hrs or until the lemon skins are lovely and tender, and can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. When the lemons are cool enough to handle, remove from the saucepan. Measure the cooking liquid – you’ll need 1.5 litres in total. If you don’t quite have this, make up the difference with water. If you have too much liquid, bring to the boil and reduce to the required amount.

3. Halve the lemons and remove the pips – reserving the pips and any lemon juice that oozes out during the process. Cut the lemon peel and flesh into strips, as thick or thin as you like. Put all of this, including any juices, back into the pan. Put the pips in a small piece of muslin and tie up with string. Add this to the pan, as the pips will aid the setting process of the jam.

4. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Boil rapidly for about 20 mins until setting point is reached. Test the setting point by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, allowing it to cool for 1 min, then pushing gently with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles, the setting point is reached; if not, continue to boil and check again in a few mins.

5. Leave to cool for 10-15 mins (this will prevent the lemon shreds sinking to the bottoms of the jars), remove the muslin bag, then gently stir in one direction to disperse any scum (small air bubbles on the surface). Pour jam into warm sterilised jars and seal straight away.

Seems pretty easy and I have jars at the ready, will post an update once I’m done.